Turkey: Afrin operation nothing to do with Syrian Kurds

Turkey: Afrin operation nothing to do with Syrian Kurds

Foreign Affairs Committee head says operation is proportional, restrained response to terror attacks

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s current Operation Olive Branch has nothing to do with Syrian Kurds but is only targeted at the PYD/PKK terrorist organization, a Turkish parliamentarian said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Volkan Bozkir, the head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed remarks by his German counterpart Norbert Roettgen on Turkey's ongoing operation in Syria's Afrin region.

"This operation has nothing to do with the Kurds in Syria," said Bozkir, an Istanbul deputy of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

"The operation is being conducted against terrorist elements in the Afrin region."

Bozkir's remarks came after Roettgen characterized the operation as "illegal, contrary to international law, and counter-productive with regard to fighting” Daesh.

Roettgen claimed Turkey cannot say that it is acting in self-defense because "there have not been any attacks on Turkey by Kurdish forces in Syria."

Bozkir called the remarks "unfortunate," adding that Turkey is carrying out the operation according to its rights based on the UN charter.

"Turkey's Operation Olive Branch is a proportional and restrained response to the imposed terror attacks," said Bozkir.

He added that the Turkish army is taking necessary measures to avoid any harm to civilians.

The Turkish military has said the operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, adding that "utmost care" is being taken not to harm any civilians.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.

Bozkir called on its allies to support Turkey's justified fight against terrorism.

"Some of our allies increased arms sales or transfers to crisis regions along Turkey's borders, but they are criticizing our justified fight against terrorism," said Bozkir, calling such actions “two-faced.”

"In this regard, Germany's weapons sales reaching a record high is typical."

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